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Irvania.com Gaming Photo Gallery: Tank Games
Panzer III First Playtest: May 28, 2000

These photos were taken at the first playtest session of Panzer III, a protypical set of miniature wargame rules for WWII I was tinkering with in 1999-2000. The miniatures are 6mm (1:285 or 1:300) scale. All of the infantry, artillery, and artillery crewmen are from Ros & Heroics, as are most of the vehicles. The terrain is intentionally sparse for this scenario.

Since this was the first playtest of a new system we weren't too concerned with historical tactics or formations. The main idea was just to put lots of miniatures on the table and have them fight it out in order to test the game mechanics. You'll notice that some of the formations in these photos are, well, different. If I recall correctly, we had about 60 vehicles, 30 infantry stands, and a dozen artillery pieces on each side. Four people played and we finished in about two hours. This is a hypothetical scenario set in the summer of 1941 on the Russian Front, using lots of early-war vehicle types.

The way the miniatures are based in these photos is my personal system and was not required for the game system we were testing. I base my figures this way because it helps store the figures when not in use (the bottoms of all the bases are magnetic) and protects the figures somewhat. The bases also provide a surface for the labels, explained below. The labels are not required either, but they are handy for identifying the miniatures. This basing system allows me to use the same miniatures for any number of different wargame rulesets.

The Russian advance seen from behind. I believe those are T-26's and BT-7's ahead, with anti-tank guns holding the line.

Close-up of a Soviet 76.2mm gun and a rifle squad. Each artillery stand has three figures, each infantry stand has five figures. In Panzer III, each infantry stand represents a squad (about 10 men), each artillery stand represents one gun and crew, and each vehicle represents a single vehicle.
The bases on Russian artillery pieces are balsa wood. Later I switched to sheet polystyrene plastic (available from your friendly local hobby shop) which I found to work much better than balsa. All the infantry stands and the German artillery stands are done in polystyrene.
These photos were taken with a three-year-old digital camera. Considering the technology, I'm amazed these pictures came out this well.

Russian T-28 medium tanks and BT-7 fast tanks advancing. That's a company-level command stand near the middle. The T-28's are a mix of C-in-C and H&R miniatures, the BT-7's are by H&R.
The command stands are all made of sheet polystyrene, the vehicle stands are simply a layer of rubberized magnetic sheeting.

Close-up of a battalion-level command stand. I make three levels of command stands, which can be used to represent any three levels of command to fit the rules being played. Level One (company in this case) stands have one vehicle and one individual infantry figure. Level Two (battalion in this case) stands have two vehicles and two individual figures. Level Three (regiment) stands have three vehicles and three figures.
This particular stand has a unique ID code of R-HQ2-01, which means Russian (R), Level Two (HQ2), stand #1 (01). The labels are printed up on a regular color inkjet printer. I use a normal word processor to make all the labels, using 9-point Times New Roman font, white letters on a dark green background for land units and white letters on a dark blue background for naval miniatures.

Not particularly realistic, but interesting. A few turns earlier a formation of PzKpfw 35(t)'s were wiped out on this spot, where the Russians will soon counter-attack. In desperation the German players have lined up five 37mm anti-tank guns. Behind the guns, the SdKfz 11 tractors are still lined up. Note the company command stand near the top center of the photo.

Another angle on the same scene. The labels on the vehicle stands are a little clearer in this shot.

Close-up of some T-28 medium tanks and T-26 light tanks. The left side (as the driver sits) of each vehicle stand has a label indicating the vehicle type. The right side has a unique unit ID code.

Two German 81mm mortars set up behind a hill, their accompanying SdKfz 250 halftracks parked nearby. Note the company command stand on top of the hill spotting for the mortars, and the battalion commander at the top of the photo.

More close-ups of Russian infantry. Note one stand is advancing towards the Germans while another stand is retreating, a result of a morale hit. Command stand in the rear, anti-tank gun near the top of the photo, and knocked-out German armoured cars in the upper left corner.
For some reason, all the photos I took of German infantry turned out too blurry.

Extreme close-up of the previous photo. I doubt if my paint jobs are going to win me any awards, but I have a lot of fun with it. The infantry stands are labelled in the same manner as the command stands, this one being R-SMG-05 (Russian Submachinegun stand #5). Looks like I forgot to paint the boots on these guys.

Two Russian 57mm anti-tank guns and two stands of submachinegun-armed infantry. The unique ID codes on the right sides of artillery and vehicle stands follow the same format: these two guns are R-27-04 and R-27-05. The R-27 is my code for Russian 57mm anti-tank guns, and these are guns #4 and #5.

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